There’s nothing new about proposals for space launching facilities based …

Comment on Alice Springs losing the space race? by Alex Nelson.

There’s nothing new about proposals for space launching facilities based somewhere in the Top End. In the 1960s the European Space Research Agency assessed the Top End as a potential location for launching satellites but opted instead for French Guiana in South America.
The north of Australia in those times was considered too remote and expensive to operate such a facility.
In September 1986 a British space engineering firm approached the NT Government for consideration of a satellite launching site but this never progressed. I vaguely recall the reason (apparently) why the Top End was rejected was because of concerns about the trajectory of rockets passing over New Guinea, any launch failures posing an unacceptable risk to population centres in that country. This seems no longer to be a major concern.
The reason sites nearest the equator are preferred for rocket launches is because that’s where the Earth spins fastest on its axis, which gives added impetus for launches into orbit. The saving in fuel costs is considerable (a major reason why the US has its major launch facility at Cape Canaveral – previously Kennedy – in Florida, and the Europeans have theirs in French Guiana. Both sites have the advantage of launch trajectories tracking over the open ocean, too).
Ironically, probably the best location on earth for a space launching site – located precisely on the equator and with open ocean to the east – also happens to be one of the most dangerous places on the planet: It is Mogadishu in Somalia!

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Liquor Commission: Lawyer, social worker represent Alice
It’s easy to be cynical and, yes, there have been many reviews, reports, commissions and the like into alcohol abuse, anti-social behaviour and crime, and associated morbidity over not just years but decades, indeed, long before we got self-government.
I was in my early years in primary school when the Member for Alice Springs, Bernie Kilgariff, initiated two major inquiries in the NT Legislative Council – one for the liquor industry, the other into the NT Police. That was in 1972-3.
The liquor industry inquiry was the first major one of its kind in the NT, and also the first to investigate the impact that alcohol abuse was having on Aboriginal people.
Its findings were appalling, especially for Alice Springs; and one of its many recommendations was the creation of a Liquor Commission to take primary responsibility of this problem from the NT Police. Bernie Kilgariff introduced the Bill for this initiative too but it didn’t come into force for several years.
Given the scale of the problems we continue to face to this day, which has generally increased commensurate with population growth in the NT, one has to question the efficacy of any measures that have been tried and failed over the years.
Where I take heart with the return of the Liquor Commission is the calibre of the new appointments to that commission, certainly those from Alice Springs.
Russell Goldflam and Blair McFarland have the runs on the board, and both have had to endure heavy public criticism at times for their stances.
They have the right qualifications, first-hand knowledge and experience.
They are eminently suited for their new roles; and, if there was such a thing, they would both be worthy recipients already of the Graeme Ross Award for Social Welfare (anyone who’s been here any length of time would know what I mean).
If their new colleagues on the Liquor Commission are of equal merit then I think there is at last some cause for confidence. We at least owe them a chance to make the changes all decent members of our society crave.


Liquor Commission: Lawyer, social worker represent Alice
Two of the worthiest individuals in our town I can think of to be appointed to the new Liquor Commission. I’m delighted by this news.
Both Russell Goldflam and Blair McFarland have been battling away on the intractable issues of alcohol abuse and related harm for many years, and very much deserve the opportunity they’ve been given to make a difference.
It will be very interesting to see how matters progress but I think this news is a very promising start.


Road Transport Hall of Fame is saved
This is great news to start the day. The lingering question in my mind is why the situation was allowed to get to the point where this major attraction was under imminent threat of being significantly reduced, and possibly under threat of closure.
Why endure the aggravation of crisis and emergency before action is taken to achieve a reasonable and satisfactory resolution for all involved?
Surely this outcome could have been negotiated in a more congenial and reasonable manner than apparently was the case.
However, at least this asset for Alice Springs looks set to be saved and for that we must be grateful.


Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 
@ Steve Brown (Posted February 16, 2018 at 10:02 am): I’m interested to know, Steve, when it was that TO’s dedicated Anzac Hill for the purpose it now serves as a war memorial? The memorial was first dedicated on Anzac Day, 1934, and as far as I’m aware local Aboriginal people had no involvement in it. Is there a subsequent occasion when this matter was addressed?


Jacinta Price reneges on council undertaking
If Jacinta Price does win preselection to stand as a candidate in the next Federal election campaign, she will not be the first to do so.
On his third attempt, John Reeves was elected in a triple by-election as an Alderman of the Alice Springs Town Council in April 1981.
He was the Labor candidate for the seat of the Northern Territory in the Federal election campaign of February-March, 1983.
Reeves was successful, and his departure from the Council contributed to another multiple by-election in April that year (this was the occasion when Leslie Oldfield was first elected as Mayor after the retirement of George Smith).
Alderman Bob Liddle resigned from the town council in 1987 to run as a candidate for the NT Nationals in the Federal election campaign in July that year. He was unsuccessful.
The NT Government had earlier changed the law so that resignations by council members who stood as candidates for NT and Federal elections were not reinstated as council members even if the candidates were unsuccessful (at present they are).
Alderman Di Shanahan had stood as a Labor candidate in the NT elections of March 1987 and was also unsuccessful. The law being what it was at the time, a double by-election was held for the Alice Springs Town Council. Neither Liddle or Shanahan chose to run again.
The NT Government subsequently reversed this law to the current situation now prevailing.


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